Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Swades Revisited-I

It had been around 7-8 months since I had gone home and may be 4-5 year since I celebrated Diwali at home last so this time my mother insisted that I spend Diwali holidays this time. She had already planned a grand puja in my village called Hanna Vinaika (a village at the SW end of UP in Banda district). Infact, I think I was the last to know that the puja was to be done. The reason: my family had undertaken a mannat that they will do this puja at the end of successful completion of my two years in job life and this was hinted to my mother by some pandit of my village. And here is the catchy deal, that entire had to be on my hard earned money. The only consolation was that by the time I would reach my village the puja would be nearing its end and I would just be there in the puja for around 3-4 days.

Ok, so how grand was this puja. Well most of my relatives were coming from outside for this puja (this grand puja is called Pandit as I came to know later). The custom in my village goes that whenever you invite any relatives from outside you’ve got to bear all the expenses for their coming and going + some gifts are obvious.(Thanks god they don’t ask for accommodation, which anyways is managed by sharing house-pool of the family; I mean my house, my uncles’ house etc). The pandit also entails some dakshina to the pandits and a feast to the entire village. The pandit is done at Hanumanji, a temple some 2-3 Kms away from the village. It’s a very famous temple with lots of stories attached to it.

So when I reached Allahabad (Alhbd), I was denied my unusual rest and was asked to proceed towards the village (some 120 Kms far from Alhbd immediately). To add to my troubles was unusual weather which was extremely hot, erratic transport service to my village. I was hinted that I might have to sleep on the floor at the site of puja. Now I was furiously searching this pandit who’s giving this kind of expensive hints to my mother. And this idea, I simply refused to do this. So some religious arguments were given as to why my sleeping there won’t cause any harm.

Infact, this reminds me of what I said to one of blog-interviews, that spirituality and religion lack confidence twisting traditions and practices to modern day person’s convenience and that may be spirituality is identical to Indian Penal Court wherein any arguments for/against something is unacceptable just to justify it.

So the next day puja began, I can’t really tell you all the details but it contained all the usual things: hawan, aarti, mantra, honking bells, obeisance, chadhawa, distributing charnamrit etc etc. I was sitting just getting bored after the first round when the charnamrit was being distributed. The Pandit was distributing it and everyone was taking it with respect. He went and gave the prasad to a lower cast person from a distance, cursing them on and off. And this was all acceptable to the worshippers, pandits (who ironically sometime back were telling mantras that God loves all equally). I thought of giving prasad to them with respect but by the time I made a decision and looked for prasad he was gone.

The experience is big and space small…. To be continued in the next blog. To be out soon

Saturday, October 07, 2006

God...where art thou.....?? Why have you deserted me....

I was very unhappy and asked God why have you deserted me .... why me..... why??

He replied patiently ...... I am everywhere but only visible to those who wish and strive to find me ....at this moment I am hidden in this entire blog page.... all you have to do is to STRIVE to search me!!!

See if you really want to search me, I am HERE...right close to you...IF you have found me and smiled that's my divine gift to you today.......Just hope many would make use of this opportunity to smile a little and write their blogs in enthusiastic/happy/smiling/cheerful moods.....

try harder and try to read between the lines...you may find ME!!

I establish my presence in even such games and try to make ppl smile ... why do they say that I have deserted them??

...P.S. will post the link to God a little later...I have left clues and trails to God here itself

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Gandhigiri - Star Gold's version

Coming is the long weekend due to Bapu’s b’day; a week full of celebrations here in Mysore owing to Dasara as well.

Gandhi Jayanti may mean different things to different people. For school, college and office goers it may mean just another welcome weekday holiday, for academicians it may mean another opportunity to discuss the relevance of Gandhian principles in today’s society, for wine and hard drink enthusiasts it may mean cursing Gandhi because it’s a dry day throughout the country; very often a one day frenzy to do and discuss every thing closely or remotely related to Gandhi. (Disclaimer here: Remember the list is not inclusive and in no way mutually exclusive)

So govt. may hold a Shanti Sabha, politicians will garland Gandhi’s idol which else would have been gathering dust for the entire past year, very few might consider visiting a nearby Gandhi gallery and most may just be happy to watch a movie on Gandhi on one of the TV channels. It is the later part which I think has left a little distaste with me this Gandhi Jayanti.

This Dasara, yet again channels are springing to cash in on the long weekend crowd and grab the highest share of TRP’s by attracting crowd. Referring to one noticeable attempt by Star Gold, I think either Star Gold has a very poor knowledge of Gandhi (and for that matter history) or it’s just one of those typical channels driven by monetary concerns and with very less aptitude for appripriateness.

It’s very easy to guess that the program schedule is driven by business sense with no regard for what is being shown and to what degree of appropriateness and relevance. Gandhi Jayanti Spl is being shown on 1st Oct and RDB is being shown on 2nd Oct, a movie which I personally, think is a little inappropriate if not grossly unfair.

Leaving aside arguments of business sense, one might argue
· RDB does represent nationalistic (debatable) sentiments so is totally appropriate to the scene
· Gandhi Jayanti has lost its significance so screening of RDB or any other movie doesn’t make much difference
· I am being far more sensitive on this topic than one should be

But I am not for any typical leftist opinion that foreign companies should be banned because they propagate SCB (Subhash Chandra Bose) sentiments when they should be preaching Gandhigiri but I think the schedule has definitely left a bad taste on me.

I am no ardent supporter of Gandhi but to say that he didn’t have any significant positive contribution to the Indian society would be foolish and I respect him for his contributions and in fact in some ways look up to him. It is driven by this respect and probably (as some of you may accuse and I will admit as well) mine one day frenzy, I believe that Star Gold could have done better by planning the program schedule in a better way.